Future Apple Watches may identify users based on their skin textures. Apple has applied for a patent (number 2019000370) for a “wearable electronic device including a wrist biometric sensor for acquiring skin texture patten images and related methods.”
This would involve a watch or a watch band with a an IR thermal image sensor . The sensor would be able to detect a skin texture pattern even through the hair on a wrist.
I’m not sure how much of an advantage this would be as far as simple identification goes. But what if Apple took this to the next level with a skin texture sensor that could alert you to potential health problems such as skin cancer, rashes caused by (for example) Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and more.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A wearable electronic device may include a device body and a device band coupled to the device body for securing the device to a wrist of a user. The wearable electronic device may also include a wrist biometric sensor carried by one of the device body and the device band. The wrist biometric sensor may include biometric sensing pixels.
“The wearable electronic device may also include a processor coupled to the wrist biometric sensor and configured to cooperate with the biometric sensing pixels to acquire skin texture pattern images from adjacent portions of the user's wrist, and perform at least one authentication function based upon the skin texture pattern images.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.